Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
Gerald Gifford {at Forum #1}

Since 1998

Since 2012

Since 2005
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Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

Anyone who has studied Jung long enough has discovered the emphasis he puts on finding the spiritual self. Indeed, in Jung's mind the spiritual identity is one's true identity. Jung stated many times in his life that those patients who found a spiritual identity were cured of any physical or psychological illness.

But many mistake religion with spirituality. I want to start a discussion on the differences {or for those who believe differently, the similiarities} between spirituality and religion. Anyone who undertakes the inward search ultimately is confronted with this question. There is a need to resolve this question if one is to find that harmoneous life one seeks. I hope all will post their comments and most importantly their experiences in their spiritual search.
I will start the discussion with a page I created on the subject some two years ago. Please read and post your comments here at the Forum.
Spirituality vs. Religion

Gerard

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 54

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Murfreesboro, Tn

Re: Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

Interesting question. To me religion is dualistic with no link to nature. Male and female, human and God, life and death, right and wrong, good and evil. Spirituality, on the other hand, links us back to nature and takes us beyond pairs of opposites, past the duality. Religions look at life's events as meaningful only to the extent that they function as vehicles of communication from an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God or Gods. My house burned down so that must be a reflection of Divine punishment for some sin I've committed, e.g. The spiritualist may look at this same event as symbolic of an inner state of consciouness, an emotional volatility or fieriness perhaps. The reference point is internal rather than to something outside the spiritualist's own experience.

Also, Spirituality and religions have the metaphor in common but the difference is religions take their metaphors literally. In the Christian tradition, God exists and Jesus ascended to an actual physical locality (heaven). The spiritualist does not use words like "God" or even attempt to label the ultimate mystery because it is something that transends all definition and thought. Christ's ascension might be viewed symbolically as a journey inward, to the heaven within all of us.

Just my 2 cents.
-Mitch

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 43

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} M

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Crystal Lake, IL

Re: Re: Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

Mitch,
Well put, and thought out. I agree that man is not separate from nature. Nor is {s}he separate from God. But biblical dogma says otherwise and Western man lives with that, and it proliferates into our psyche so to create psychological malformation. Jung said long ago that America was a neurotic nation. I believe we have digressed to a narcissist nation. And it is having dire consequences, not only in our relationship with the rest of the world but with the planet also.

My greatest concern about Western religions is their total neglect to reason and what that is doing to the health of the living earth. Capitalists, ie conservatice ideologs and their wanta-to be intimates, either have no soul or they are so induced by their religious indoctrination they totally ignore the fact that the earth is a delicate balance, a living organism like the human body. You do too much to harm the body, as Americans do as a matter of habit, the body declines. And just as the body show signs of decline so to the planet when it's vital organs are out of balance. Ignore a cancerous liasion on the skin and you could die. Ignore vital changes in climate and the allready known consequences it is causing, you have a formula for disaster.

But what is so discouraging and threatening about the Western religions that dominate America, i.e. Christianity, is that they live totally inauthintic lives, professing a belief in Jesus but often living the opposite of what he represents. I believe this has been orchrastrated from the biblical beginning, not by indifference to what Jesus represents but in opposition to recognizing the deserved status of the feminine psyche. It must be man, the masculine that holds the ultimate power. Thou shall have no other gods before me. What they really mean is thou shall have no other goddess before me, fearing the power of the feminine aspect of the collective psyche if it should ever take control. The feminine, and thus women, thus our planet must be submissive in religious doctrine or the whole seat of patriarchal control would ultimately fail. If Jesus, with his feminine aspects should be the head icon instead of God, then we would all live authenic Jesus lives. And if that were to be, there would be a realization that an inward Christ is the same symbolic life as is Buddha consciousness. That is why Gnosticism could never be accepted in mainstream Christian doctrine, its basic idea is much the same as Buddhism.

The understanding of the religions is part of discovering the power of myth. When you have a thorough undestanding of myth, symbol and metaphor, intuition extracts itself from the psyche and the dream becomes an effective tool for self discovery. By not submitting to the literal word of religion the soul opens up intuitively to nature, and all that is within the collective becomes one. Duality, and the need for religion is eliminated and the spiritual aspect of the human psyche is united with the collective in nature. What is true in the farthest reaches of outer space is true within the human soul, and the nature of man.

Gerard

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 54

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Murfreesboro, Tn

Re: Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton 1887

My exploration of religion and spirituality began at age 30. My father was raised Southern Baptist and mother Shinto, neither practicing in adult life. My parents believed we, even as young children, were able to choose whether to participate or not participate in religion, to choose our own religion if we wanted. They believed that forcing a child to practice or indoctrinate to a specific religion, or any religion at all, was unnecessary and unwarranted. I think this evolved from their personal experiences of forced religion as children.

I spent my teens denying the existence of God outwardly pronouncing myself an Atheist all the while secretly acknowledging the Creator truly existed. An amplification of my dislike of authority and defiance, I suppose. Self righteous recriminations abounded for ‘those hypocrites’ that practiced religion and attended church while they secretly and publicly broke the subscribed religious laws.

In my twenties I realized and acknowledged my personal belief in the Creator. That was enough at the time.

At thirty, the usual age, I began the quest. Seeking answers to ‘Who am I’ “Why are I here’ and the big one ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Being a person with no organized religious history I started with the Bible. The first read infuriated me. It reinforced the misogynistic views my brother spouted as testament to why his life, and every other males, was ‘so bad’. Women were responsible for all the ills of this existence. Slaves?? God sanctioned slavery? Impossible! God is male? Why would God be a specific gender? God is vengeful? Vengeance isn’t something I wanted in my life. The negative aspects of humanity and God found in this ‘revered’ book created a gaping deficit that for me, the positive could not fill or compense. The images ricocheted inside my head bouncing off the wall I erected to protect my consciousness, my self, from these insane theories. I could not, would not, comprehend this so called message. I also doubted I would ever categorize myself as a ‘religious’ person because to do so meant I subscribed, submitted, to the doctrine as written.

I rejected this literal reading pursing a more personal path to seek answers. Through the years I found the works of Plato, Socrates, Edgar Cayce, Cherie Carter-Scott, Marcus Aurelius, Dali Lama, Voltaire, Nietzsche (that was a hard read for me), Freud, Jung, Einstein, Sogyal Rinpoche, Camus, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Ghandi, Herman Hesse. Dr. Wayne Dyer and on and on. Through exploring and examining the thoughts of these and many more, I found the answers to my own questions. These are the truths I knew but had yet to recognize and acknowledge as my ‘spirituality’. In choosing these specific readings I was really seeking support of my personal ideals. Of who and what I believed to be God, humanity, myself and the physical/metaphysical worlds to be.

Conversing with a close friend who I had characterized as religious, I inquired how she reconciled the writings in the Bible with its male orientation to her female identity. How our philosophies about God could be so similar yet derived from such separate paths. She, in all her wisdom, replied ‘Think of the Bible as written by men, in a male dominated world, with all their stupid male ego testosterone trappings. Realize the context of when it was written, that slavery existed, women and everything else were the property of men. Then remove every bit of that context to arrive at the true spiritual meaning.” (Not slamming men here…well, ok, but just the ones who wrote the Bible.) I reread the Bible using her recommendation. That helped. Then I read a recommendation the Bible is meant to be felt by the soul not read by the mind. I reread again asking the mind to quiet and bring the soul forward. This also furthered my comprehension of the real message.

For myself I continue to reject mainstream organized religion as the den of the power hungry. I am of and connected to the All. I know what I should or should not be doing and what the Creator wants of me. I view the leaders of these organizations not so much as leaders as authoritative dictators requiring subscription with blind faith to the leader’s interpretations of God to receive God’s grace. In balance I also know that so many feel a need to rely on others as a conduit or connector to the Creator. I believe for some it is the indoctrination, it is their comfort zone, what they have been taught to do. For others it may be a lack of faith or knowledge that they themselves, as are all of us, are truly of the Divine. There is a purpose for religion although I believe many times it hinders more than helps people connect to the Creator.

For me I feel no need to be religious but am aware of an increasing desire to commune with other spiritual people. I am currently contemplating seeking a non denominational organization which respects the individual’s belief and connection to the Creator. Who will accept everyone regardless of their affiliation, or lack of, whether they are spiritual, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or any subscribed ideology. An organization that sincerely believes in lifting up with positive support and encouragement rather than judge with the ‘obey or be punished’ structure combined with 'only our law is right' theology.

And as for answers to my spiritual questions…
Who am I? I am a kind, creative and intuitive person who loves to laugh and help others to laugh. I am a student and a teacher. I am a mediator and an artist.

Why am I here? I’m here to learn and to teach. To both give and receive help and encouragement. I am here to learn the lessons of faith, courage and balance.

What is the purpose of life? Love. For me it is the single most compelling message of the sages.

These are my answers. Your answers to your questions are likely to be very different. As is the gift of life we each experience. We are each here for both individual and collective experiences. Collectively we are all one and the same. We are of the Divine.

One more thought…
Today I am not the person I was yesterday, nor am I the person I will be tomorrow.

With hope we all find what we seek,
Kathy

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 42

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Central OH

Re: Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

Kathy, I too have experienced all too often that women are to blame for men's problems, as substantiated by literal interpretations of the Bible. However, two very fundamental Southern Baptist/Nazarene preachers surprised me one day by stating that it was obvious from the Genesis account that Eve was deceived, and thus not entirely responsible for her actions. Adam, on the other hand, knew full well what he was doing and deliberately chose to defy God.

Thus, the Messiah could be born of woman because she did not deliberately defy God. I find it interesting (and never commented upon) that Joseph's role was as legitimizer and protector for Mary and the Infant. I have found no further references to him in my readings, except that Jesus had brothers and sisters.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 48

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Denver, CO

Re: Re: Spirituality vs Religion by WebMaster Gerard

Greetings & salutations Enola,
Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and experiences with me. I employ a more loose interpretation in that the Bible is a collection of stories, akin to Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Greek mythology. In the story of Adam and Eve I believe each is personally responsible for their individual action. In the story gender is irrelevant. It is the action of each individual, regardless of gender, that invoked the corresponding action of God. Each was an equal participant. Had the genders been inverted the outcome would be the same. In my opinion, excusing Eve and placing Adam at fault has the reverse effect than probably intended. It still singles out gender as culpable only reversing it to the male character resulting, again, in lessening one gender in comparison to the other. This places focus on gender rather than retaining a singular focus on personal responsibility.

Stating my brother is a misogynist maybe an over exaggeration. In part, it’s his strongly held views about men and women in society, and my strongly held opposing views, that contribute to our unique personalities. I thank my parents for allowing me to choose when and how to experience spirituality which spared me the patriarchal thoughts and ‘training’ of the secular religious communities. And for teaching me the importance of independent thought. My brother and I share the same parents so how we each arrived at diametrically opposite seats on the topic is interesting. I believe his convictions were formed of his life experiences and valid to him, as are mine to me. Although he’s still ‘misguided’…

In rereading my post I realize I could be viewed as a militant feminist. Which I’m not. On the topic of gender I seek equality through open and thoughtful examination of societal ‘boundaries’. Replace each ‘he’ and ‘she’ with ‘soul’, which is the blending of both male and female into one, and the entire picture changes…at least for me.

Best regards,
Kathy

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 42

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Female

Would You Like To Receive Power of Dreams Newsletter? Central OH

Re: Spirituality vs Religion/ First Dream Post in Jan 2005

It is now 2017 and the Dream Forum has 4500+ posted messages and thousands more responses and comments. I have gained great insights from the interactions with the dreamers. And using basic Jungian concepts on dreams {primarily symbol and metaphor, just like mythologies} I sincerely believe, based on what I have experienced from the dreams I have analyzed, proper/correct interpretation of dreams is no longer the great mystery. From working with dreams I have come to realize they are like everything else, a product of nature. With a language of symbol and metaphor {just like mythology}. So naturally it is not hard to understand why we do dream. Unresolved emotional energies that cause internal conflict that influences/affects the decisions/actions as adults. Nature provided us with an immune system to protect and heal the body, dreams serve the same purpose for the psych{ology}/soul.

When I analyze a dream I see the soul, the true self {unbiased, unlike the conscious ego with its set perceptions}, wanting to communicate a message. Understand first, dreams are about the dreamer. Everyone else is in relationship to the dreamer, and unknown persons aspects of the dreamer's person/psychology. The house is the dreamer, and what goes on in that house is/has gone on in the dreamer's life. They come from experiences in life that possessed strong emotional energies which are {primarily negative experiences or influences} stored in the unconscious mind {ie, as a child there was psychological or/and sexual abuse, later in life traumatic experiences that deeply affects the person}. There is emotional conflict because of these energies and many, based on experiences, childhood included, have the ability to influence/affect not only personality and personal attitudes but also decisions and actions in adult life {many that can be/are destructive}. These emotional conflicts need resolution and dreams, by nature, are attempting to help resolve/heal the conflicts. Without this natural mechanism life can never be as whole and complete because of the unresolved issues. Later in life they are you, driven by unconscious unresolved emotional energies, unfulfilled and seeking answers on the outside when going inward {dreams/self psychology} is where the answers reside.

More thoughts later as I look back at the beginnings of the Dream Forum in January, 2005.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 67 Male Cocoa, Fl

Re: Spirituality vs Religion/ First Dream Post in Jan 2005

Analyzing dream symbols and actions

If you have an image of {a person} going in a house and shuttering himself/herself in it could very well be the action represents repression of some aspect of the dreamer's life {example: abuse earlier in life or some other traumatic experience the dreamer does not remember or wants to confront because of the emotional pain}. The house is the dreamer {a universal symbol representing the dreamer} and going inside represents psychologically turning inward, away from the experience. The images are the person {the dreamer or an aspect of the dreamer} and the house {also the dreamer}. The action is 'going inside' the house {the dreamer's unconscious psyche}.

Also consider another possible representation of going in that would define an aspect of the dreamer's personality. The inside could point to an introverted personality {the outside would represent extroverted}. We all are born with an innate temperament, introvert or extrovert and how that plays out personality wise is influenced by nurturing in early life {personality is established by age 9}. I often see personality traits in dreams and when I do I make ita part of my analysis so the dreamer can respond to it {and most often verified by the dreamer}.

Which would be correct. Possibly both. The personality trait could be true along with the repression representation since all dreams have at least two meanings/applications. Beyond the two possible representations above, one aspect of dreams is also focusing on recent emotional experiences while another is in some way/always focused on early life foundations. Early life experiences form the basic foundations of who we become later in life. We know {from research the first three years of life are most important because the developing psyche 'takes in' the outer experiences {those with emotional energies such as parents arguing} and stores them in the unconscious. What is experienced when the brain is developing becomes the concrete force for personality traits {even influencing the inherent personality from birth}.

I stated above I know a certain symbol or action fits because the dreamer confirms my analysis. This is how I 'know' many things about dreams. The dreamer verifies specifics of my analysis in their response. Science is all about proving a concept or theory. Jung laid out the basic concepts of the dream and I have found them to be true and applicable in analyzing dreams. Confirmation of what I believe from the thousands of analyzed dreams is for me proof. Scientific proof.

It is why I call my approach to dreams the psychology of dreams. Psychology is a science.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 67 Male Cocoa, Fl

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